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How hard is it to sail around the world alone on a scale of 1-10?

  • 1 (easiest)

    Votes: 6 12.8%
  • 2

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 3

    Votes: 4 8.5%
  • 4

    Votes: 1 2.1%
  • 5

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • 6

    Votes: 2 4.3%
  • 7

    Votes: 7 14.9%
  • 8

    Votes: 7 14.9%
  • 9

    Votes: 6 12.8%
  • 10 (hardest)

    Votes: 12 25.5%
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Discussion Starter #1
I don't know why alot of sailors think its sooo hard to do a solo circumnavigation. I mean just do what Robin Lee Graham did. Get a sea-worthy boat, tons of food and supplies. And just sail off into the sunset. Whether it takes one year, two years, five years who cares. Or whether you visit one country, two countries, 10 countries, 50 countries. Just as long as you make it back in one piece, that is all what matters. Do you guys agree?
 

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Corsair 24
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is this a baiting thread? just sayin

robins boat almost completely fell apart despite his best efforts---it was a leaky creaky mess... after getting some money he finished on a very new back then luders 33

I do agree however about the sail into the sunset...people get so caught up with outfitting a boat when all you have to see is those that have gone before you have done so in a gazillion type of vessels...so dont get caught up in westmarine catalogs and hearsay at the clubhouse...

refit and strengthen your boat and go cruising

simple
 

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Glad I found Sailnet
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Not that I'm qualified to answer, but what is a 10? If a 10 is how difficult it is to save enough money and put your own space program together so you can walk on the moon, then the number is probably around a 1. If a 10 is learning fluent Chinese, then it's probably a 6.

So we need a little more information. :)

Regards,
Brad
 
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Scottie, how much sailing experience do you have to even imagine what is easy and what is hard in this case? I have been offshore only once in rough weather (sea was at 7) and I was with an experienced skipper. It was a very sobering experience. So I gave it a 10 in your poll because when you are alone and something goes wrong in bad weather, you are in a very tight spot.
Having a lot of money for a good boat with a good gear helps a lot. Having a lot of experience helps a lot. Being a naturally born and confirmed badass helps. But it is still going to be a 10.
 

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Talk to any of the solo distance racers about what it takes to sail solo for long periods of time. The mental aspects of being alone for that long have caused suicides, are notorious for causing auditory and visual hallucinations, and the lack of sleep can be crushing.

It can be done, but the total number of people who have completed a solo circumnavigation is probably less than 1,000. With a reported 260 as of 2009 there are more people that have been to the ISS than have solo circumnavigated (as reported).
 

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I appreciate the thoughtful replies. However, they seem to assume a non-stop circumnavigation, don't they?

What is the longest leg, 3 weeks maybe? Would loneliness be such a big factor if you were stopping along the way. Also would give the opportunity to re-provision and make repairs.
 

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It really depends on what route, and what boat, but three weeks is a pretty optimistic crossing from Hawaii to California for instance. It doesn't sound so bad, but try going and living in your kitchen for three weeks, never sleeping more than 20 minutes at a time, and randomly turn the spritzer on the sink spray you for a day at a time. At the same time, no kindle or books (they got wet and destroyed), no tv, no phone or internet, just sitting on your kitchen floor for a few weeks. Only eat food that doesn't need refrigeration, but you get a candy bar at the halfway point. Then at the very end on the three weeks, roll a dice, and if it turns up even add another week.

Sure it is makeshift, and much easier than reality, but it will give you an idea of what it's like to do any distance solo sailing. Which is why the solo racers have to go thru significant proofing before they are allowed to even compete in many solo offshore races. The solo transpac for instance requires a minimum of a 400 mile solo sail for provisional admittance.

I have done a good bit of solo sailing, up to about two days between ports. I have been sailing for 30 years, and raced big budget offshore programs, and done more deep water deliveries than I can count, and I wouldn't even consider a solo circumnav. I don't like myself that much.
 

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bell ringer
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since I haven't done it I didn't vote

but I am impressed that apparently 12 here have as that is the current number of votes
 

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S/V Wyndwitch - Morgan 24
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Scottie;
I couldn't post a response to the poll because by phrase and concept it is uninformed. One thing that always stands me well when approaching an unfamiliar subject is a little serious reading/study. There are at this time a large number of books and articles available on the Internet and at the library which would inform you on the subject. A lot of them are great some quite intriguing historically but all would inform you more effectively than a multiple choice questionaire. Truth is if you read and consider Robin L Graham's experience he had a pretty rough time with isolation and on several occasions reached at least momentary breakdown. This is not unusual for solo ocean sailors. Key skill for any serious sailor is self directed learning...read study compare and then inquire As you refine your method your thoughts are refined as well and in combination with gradual experience (such as day sailing, short cruises and some over night navigation) you form a reliable understanding of the topic whatever it might be.....
have fun
 

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How hard is it to sail around the world? I guess it's probably as hard as it is to climb Mt. Everest, but spread out over a period of 8 months or more, rather than a couple of days.
If one is an intelligent singlehander (or cruiser, for that matter) shouldn't one tuck a reef or two before dark, be aware enough of what's going on around you to be in control before most situations escalate, be in a mental state conducive to the intended voyage and have a vessel up to the trip?
It is amazingly tiring to spend a protracted amount of time at sea, but it shouldn't be hard work. With modern rigs, cockpit sail controls (halyards, reefing, etc.), roller furling, lazy jacks and the electronics most of us use, the difficulty factor has gone from ironman status to something a teenager can do (hey, a blind guy sailed to Hawaii).
Most of us would not sail in the Roaring 40's, the Furious Fifties or the Shrieking/Screaming Sixties; we'd choose the lower latitudes and the seasons, with attention to things like hurricanes, monsoons and the proper time of year for the cape transits.
Hard, not so much. Preparation, commitment and planning, more so.
 

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I've crossed a couple of oceans and I gave it a 9 given the need to round Africa something many early circumnavigators didn't have to do. I don't think a circumnavigation is "easy" with a good crew, probably a 5 or 6. It's much harder alone.

Don't believe me? Have a look at this guy's experience NYC to Bermuda.



I met Blake last summer in St. John's, NFL. He was on his way to Greenland. The link is for the start of a six (?) part series....I think the lack of sleep shows throughout the series. Worst part is part six. No good deed goes unpunished.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Leaving on solo circumnavigation = easy, finishing = hard. 9 or 10 (with 10 being just shy of impossible).
 

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Ah it's easy, was doing it last night untill the alarm went off
 
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